Four Sleep Scenarios for White Noise

Published on October 25, 2022

Does sleeping with a fan truly help with sleep? White noise is beneficial to many people because it provides a buffer against unwanted noise. Its consistent hum allows our tired brains to relax into slumber. Here are four situations where white noise improves sleep quality.

1) Noisy Environments

Urban areas are often unreasonably loud at night. There’s no escaping traffic, airplanes, and construction. Even neighbors who love the evening hours can be a source of frustration. This is an ideal time to add white noise to mask all that unwanted sound.

Research from Sleep Medical examined a small group of New York City residents. Everyone used a white noise machine while observations were recorded in a sleep diary as well as a wearable sleep monitor. Both subjective and objective measurements showed significant sleep improvements.

2) Insomnia

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, frustrating millions of people. It’s so distressing to be unable to fall or stay asleep. Whether your insomnia is acute or long term, white noise may help ease symptoms.

A small study published by Frontiers in Neurology tracked the four sleep stages of participants with and without insomnia. When uniform background noise was played through the night, individuals with insomnia improved how quickly they fell asleep by 38%.

3) Hospital Stays

Recovering from an illness is a major sleep disruptor. Pain, limited sleep positions, and stress can affect our sleep cycle. In particular, hospitalizations are loud, unfamiliar environments that can easily distract from rest. Several studies have noted that white noise can help patients with quality sleep.

Nursing in Critical Care found that patients in a noisy ICU benefited from a white noise app and The Journal of Caring Sciences found similar results in a coronary care unit.

4) Shift Workers

Having a job with nontraditional hours is demanding on the body. Many people struggle with side effects such as poor concentration, increased stress, and a risk of developing certain diseases. One way to counter these imbalances is with white noise.

A 2022 study from JMIR Formative Research examined healthcare shift workers. One group was supplied with noise-masking earbuds for two weeks. These participants self-reported improved sleep quality, daily sleepiness, and tension on nights with ambient noise.

Playing white noise at night may be the perfect way to feel more rested. Just remember that any noise can be harmful if played too loud. Avoid earbuds while sleeping. These devices can exceed safe decibels and shouldn’t run for hours at a time – that’s a recipe for hearing damage. Light Awake offers a selection of white noise that can be played on your phone from a comfortable distance.

See our options by downloading the app below from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Plus read about the differences between white, pink, and brown noise here!

Additional Posts


About Dr. Kathy Hurst

Dr. Kathy Hurst is on a mission to create the world’s most innovative alarm clock. As a doctor, she knows the frustration of waking up at odd hours to a blaring alarm. Backed by the latest research, she has found that noisy alarm clocks are harmful to our circadian rhythms. Her invention, Light Awake, harnesses the power of light to support our natural biology instead. Read more about her inspiration here. 


Light Awake – The Calming Wakeup Experience

Light Awake uses pulsating light to gently rouse you from sleep. There are no sharp, piercing noises that startle you awake. Its flashing light is designed to stimulate your circadian system and comfortably move your mind from slumber to consciousness. This is the only wakeup system that is based on the physiology of our eyes and brain.

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Light Awake’s silent alarm clock is a natural way to rouse from your sleep. There are no sharp or piercing noises that startle you awake. Its gentle light stimulates your circadian system so you comfortably move from slumber to consciousness.

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